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B.C. tribunal upholds $200 strata fine for improper recycling

A Metro Vancouver strata tenant won't be reimbursed for a $200 fine levied in a case of improper recycling.
cardboard recycling
A strata tenant says he was improperly fined $200.

B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal has dismissed a complaint from a strata tenant who claimed he was inappropriately fined for putting recyclables in the wrong collection box.

The complaint was brought forward by Leonardo de Azevedo Rossi, a strata lot tenant in a Metro Vancouver strata corporation.

The strata fined Rossi $200 for placing prohibited items in the strata’s recycling bins, in violation of strata bylaws. The strata and Rossi agree that the strata lot owner paid the fine, and Rossi reimbursed the owner.

In an Aug. 2 decision, tribunal member Chad McCarthy said Rossi admitted he mistakenly put prohibited items in the recycling bins, but said his neighbour removed them before the strata issued the bylaw infraction letter.

He also says that under the strata’s bylaws, the strata was required to provide only a warning and not a fine for a first bylaw infraction, although the strata’s infraction letter suggested it would do both.

Rossi said the strata improperly imposed the fine and requested a $200 reimbursement.

The strata’s bylaws said a tenant must ensure household garbage is placed in the containers provided for it, and recyclable material must be kept in designated areas. And, they said, a tenant must ensure that all items prohibited or banned from the garbage and recycling are disposed of correctly.

The bylaws said inappropriate dumping of banned items would result in a fine.

McCarthy said evidence photos showed what appears to be Styrofoam and plastic wrap surrounded by a flat cardboard box, placed in a recycling bin labelled ‘flattened cardboard only.’ Rossi’s name and contact information were attached to the box.

“Mr. Rossi admits that he placed the Styrofoam and plastic into the cardboard recycling bin, and that those items were prohibited from that container. I find that Mr. Rossi placed banned items into the cardboard recycling bin, contrary to bylaw,” McCarty said.

However, a June 19, 2021 text message from Rossi’s neighbour, T.H., shows that T.H. warned Rossi about the banned items and removed them from the recycling bin.

Still, McCarthy said, removal of the items does not erase the fact Rossi did contravene that bylaw.

The tribunal's decision notes there had been a complaint to the strata from another resident.

A letter to the owner indicated the infraction and letters warned of a $200 fine. The owner of Rossi’s unit did dispute the fine but the strata dismissed that.

McCarty found there had been a bylaw breach and dismissed Rossi’s complaint.

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